Baillieres Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Apr;11(1):145-63. doi: 10.1016/s0950-351x(97)80569-1.


Osteomalacia is a generalized bone disorder characterized by impairment of mineralization, leading to accumulation of unmineralized matrix or osteoid in the skeleton. The classical clinical features of osteomalacia include musculoskeletal pain, skeletal deformity, muscle weakness and symptomatic hypocalcaemia. In childhood the features of osteomalacia are accompanied by rickets, with widening of the epiphyses and impaired skeletal growth. The major cause of osteomalacia is vitamin D deficiency, which is most often due to reduced cutaneous production of vitamin D in housebound elderly people, immigrants to Northern countries and women who adopt strict dress codes which prohibit exposure of uncovered skin. Vitamin D deficiency osteomalacia may also occur with malabsorption, liver disease and anticonvulsant therapy. Less commonly, osteomalacia may result from abnormal vitamin D metabolism, resistance to the action of vitamin D, hypophosphataemia or toxic effects on osteoblast function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypophosphatemia / complications
  • Hypophosphatemia / etiology
  • Male
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / complications
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism
  • Osteomalacia* / chemically induced
  • Osteomalacia* / etiology
  • Osteomalacia* / physiopathology
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*


  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium